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Fishing the North Coast, August 18 Rockfish bite hot, halibut slows off Eureka; Klamath River action heats up

By Kenny Priest

After a summer full of wind and rough seas, the ocean along the North Coast turned into a lake over the weekend, allowing boats of all shapes and sizes to hit the open seas. And what they found was plenty of fish to go around. The tuna hunters, who’ve been chomping at the bit for a couple months, were able to run offshore to where the warm water lies. Boats out of Fort Bragg and Shelter Cove found a good albacore bite 30 to 40 miles west, while the Crescent City fleet found the albies 45 to 60 miles straight out on Monday and Tuesday. Boats that made the run south to the Cape were greeted by loads of hungry rockfish, as well as a few halibut.

Eric Banko of Cutten holds a 33 lb Chinook salmon he landed last Sunday out of Eureka. Eric was fishing just north of the stacks in 190 feet of water with a flasher and sardine when the big fish hit.
Photo courtesy of Mike Earhart

There were a few salmon caught out of Eureka over the weekend, but no big numbers were reported. However, the fish that were caught were of quality size — in the 20 to 30 lb class.

Weekend Marine forecast

It appears the calm waters will give way this weekend as the swells are predicted to build on Thursday and gather steam through Saturday, then start to taper off on Sunday. Friday and Saturday we’re looking at swells NW six ft and WSW 1 ft, with wind waves one to two ft. Sunday is calling for swells four to five ft with wind waves one to two ft. The good news is the wind will be light, nothing greater than 10 knots is forecasted. For up-to-date weather forecasts, visit You can also call the National Weather Service at (707) 443-7062 or the office on Woodley Island at (707) 443-6484.


With the fall coastal river salmon season right around the corner, I asked a few of our local fishing guides to share their favorite roe cures for salmon. Here’s what they had to say.

Alan Borges of Alan’s Guide Service, (707) 496-9074

“I have a couple different methods that work for me. After the skeins are thoroughly cleaned, I’ll wrap them in paper towels and leave in the fridge for 24 hours. This is the most important step of the process. Then I’ll use either Pro Glow or Pro-Cure and follow the instructions. I’ll also experiment with different scents, with sardine being one of my favorites for salmon. The other cure I use is an equal amount of borax and sugar. You want to make sure and get the mixture in all the folds. I leave them in the cure for 24 hours or two days at the most. Once done, I’ll shake off the excess cure and they’re ready to fish. For salmon, I like the eggs to be a little on the rubbery side.”

Mike Coopman of Mike Coopman’s Guide Service, (707) 465-1367

“I use what I call the 3-2-1 cure — made up of salt, sugar and Borax. I’ll first butterfly the skeins and then add a light coat of salt.  Next I’ll sprinkle on some sugar and a good coating of Pro Glow red cure. Finally, I’ll add a good amount of Borax. I’ll put the skeins in large glass jars and let sit for two to three days, turning the jar upside down every 24 hours. After the third day, I’ll either dry or fish them depending on my schedule. To dry the eggs, I’ll drip-dry them on racks for 30-60 minutes, then wrap the skeins in paper towels and place in Ziploc bags and put in the fridge.”

Brice Dusi of Brice Dusi's Fishing Guide Service, (707) 496-8295

“Curing roe for salmon I almost always use a commercial cure, either Pro Glo or Pro-Cure. My main color is red but sometimes I’ll change it up. Salmon seem to like the sodium sulfite cures more and red has always been the go to color. I always make sure the eggs are clean and try to get as much of the blood out of the veins as possible. First I butterfly the skeins open and if they’re big, I’ll cut up in smaller sizes. I’ll shake on the enough cure to cover the skeins thoroughly. I’ll then put the skeins in a jar or Ziploc bag and when the eggs start juicing up from the cure (1 to 2 hours), I’ll shake them up to move them around in the juice. If you want a firmer egg, you can pour some of the juice out. They should be ready to fish in a day.”

Steve Huber of Steve Huber’s Guide Service, (530) 623-1918

“I’ve had really good success with Pro-Cure’s Last Supper Coastal /Tidewater Double-Red formula. I first butterfly the skeins and then add a good coating of the cure, making sure to get in all the folds of the eggs. I’ll then put them in glass jars for two to three days until the juice is re-absorbed. Next I’ll put the skeins in large-mouth jars and stick them in the freezer for 24 hours. At this point they are ready to fish as is, or you can dry them with straight or colored borax, depending on what color you’re after. If I’m not going to use the eggs right away, I’ll vacuum seal them in the jars and stick them in the fridge.”

Tony Sepulveda of Green Water Fishing Adventures, (907) 841-5420
Ninety percent of the time I’ll use one of the sodium sulfite based cures, either Pro Glow or Pro-Cure. I first butterfly open the skeins using a butter knife, then with the butter knife I push out all the excess blood from the blood line. I’ll then sprinkle the cure over the eggs making sure it gets in all the folds. I then leave them to sit in their juices for 30 minutes in either a bowl or a Ziploc bag. Next I’ll take them out and place them egg-side down on paper towels for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I’ll turn them over and let them dry until they’re tacky. This normally takes about four to six hours, depending on the temperature and humidity. Once dry, they are ready to fish.”

Mike Stratman of Redwood Coast Fishing, (707) 476-9243

“After butterflying the skeins, I wrap the eggs in paper towels and leave them in the fridge overnight. This will remove most of the moisture. Next I’ll sprinkle on a 50-50 mixture of Borax and sugar, then I’ll mix in one of the commercial cures, Pro Glow, Pro-Cure, or Pautzke’s. Once I get a good coat on the eggs, I’ll put them in a gallon plastic container and put the lid on. I store the container in dark, cool spot, usually in the garage, until the juice is re-absorbed and the consistency is what I’m looking for.  At this point you can add scent to your eggs and they are ready to fish.”

Look for steelhead roe cures from these pros in next week’s “Fishing the North Coast”

The Oceans:


Ocean conditions this weekend aren’t going to be quite as nice as the past few days, but should remain fishable according to Phil Pritting of Eureka’s Englund Marine. “The rockfish bite down at the Cape has been awesome this past week, with the weather finally allowing boats to make the trip. The halibut action slowed the last couple days and the fish are being taken in a little shallower water, 200-210 ft. The top bait is still the jumbo sardines, with the B2 Squid coming in a close second. There aren’t a lot of salmon being caught right now, but the fish that are coming in are big,” said Pritting. There’s been a pretty good halibut bite inside the bay according to John Corbett of Eureka’s Pro Sport Center. “I heard one of the top spots was between Indian and Woodley Islands. The channels in the North Bay were also productive last week. The redtail perch bite has been steady at the usual spots from Centerville Beach north to Gold Bluffs Beach. Guys are catching a nice grade of fish, especially around the river mouths,” Corbett added. Skipper Phil Glenn on the Shellback reported a red-hot rockfish bite last Friday and Monday at the Cape, with easy limits each trip. Glenn also reports the halibut bite has slowed out front, with one to two fish per trip. Skipper Tim Klassen of Reel Steel Sport Fishing took advantage of the flat ocean and spent quite a few days down south below the Cape where he was able to scratch out a few halibut along with full limits of quality rockfish, including Blacks, Coppers, Vermilions, and a few lings mixed in.


The rock fishing is as good as it gets right now according to Chris Hegnes of Crescent City’s Englund Marine. “Boats are scoring easy limits and the ling cod have shown up as well. We’ve also had six or seven Pacific Halibut caught off the big reef in 70-90 ft of water. A few boats made the run for albacore on Monday and Tuesday and found good action straight out 45 to 60 miles,” Hegnes added.

Shelter Cove:

Russ Thomas of Mario’s Marina in Shelter Cove reports the tuna boats found a pretty good bite out 30-40 miles on Tuesday. “Just about every boat came back with fish, with about a 10 fish average per boat. There are still a few salmon being caught, with a few 30 pounders weighed in last week,” Thomas added

The Rivers:

Lower Klamath

The action isn’t red-hot, but it’s getting better everyday, according to Alan’s Guide Service. “We’re seeing fish in just about every hole from the Glen to Blue Creek. I did hear of a few more salmon caught by boats at the mouth on Tuesday, so that’s a good sign. The moss is also starting to thin out, so that should really improve the catch-rate. Red and natural colored roe have been the baits of choice,” Borges added.


Rick Frederick of Hawkins Bar Mini Mart reports there are still a few fish around from Burnt Ranch to Junction City, but not any big numbers. At this point we’re waiting for the fall fish to arrive and they just aren’t here yet,” Frederick added.

Questions, comments, tips, and photos can be emailed to

Fishing Reports

Cooler water, weather doesn’t stop bass
Oroville Waters by Craig Bentley, author badge,
11/24/15 -- Oroville area waters have cooled down again as another cold storm this week promises rain with snow in the mountains as the fall bite at the lake continues with anglers catching good numbers of bass, a few trout... Full Story
GGSA: ‘NO genetically altered salmon' 11/21/15 – The Golden Gate Salmon Association (GGSA) has announced it is disappointed in the federal Food and Drug Administration's approval of genetically altered salmon as being fit for human consumption... Full Story
Ideal rain sparks river salmon bite
Jim Hall with large kings, . Photo by the author, courtesy of Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing
On Oregon Waters by Larry Ellis
11/20/15 -- Salmon fishermen love to see rain, but they don't like to see too much of it at one time. The ideal condition that anglers hope for is enough rain to raise a river to fishable levels, but not a total blowout that floods...Full Story
OR delays Dungeness season coast-wide 11/20/15 -- The commercial Dungeness crab season along the Oregon coast normally opens Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a safe and high-quality product to consumers. Testing of crab in recent weeks showed elevated levels... Full Story
Smith, Chetco get much-needed rain
Fishing the North Coast, by Kenny Priest, author badge,
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2017-18 groundfish mgmt. up for review
Vermilion rockfish, CDFW photo by Athena Maguire
11/18/15 -- The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will hold five public workshops to discuss groundfish management in California. Attendees will hear an overview of recent groundfish management and science... Full Story
Upper Klamath River yields lots of steel
Jonathan holds a fish with the lake and mountains in the background, photo by Scott Caldwell
By Frank Galusha
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Breathing Under Water
Water hyacinth, photo by Fishbio
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
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Scouting Deerheart Lake, photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil “Flip” Akers
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Good fishing in the Redding area
Jeff Goodwin's Guide Service 24' Willie jet boat equipped to fish the Sac River and area's lakes. Photo by Jeff Goodwin
Article and photos by Jeff Goodwin
11/14/15 -- The chill of fall has changed the colors of the trees in Shasta county, but it hasn't changed the fishing on local waters at all. Fishing has continued to remain good as the season changes, and it doesn't appear... Full Story
CA F&GC delays crab start; El Niño blamed 11/05/16 -- [Updated] The California Fish and Game Commission today voted 3-0 in favor of an emergency rulemaking to prohibit recreational take and possession of Dungeness crab and all rock crab from ocean waters, including bays...Full Story
NOAA Fisheries issues US 2014 Report 11/01/15 -- U.S. commercial fishermen landed 9.5 billion pounds of seafood valued at $5.4 billion in 2014, according to the new Fisheries of the United States report, which was released this past weekend. The continued... Full Story
Bass in the grass
An average Steiner Lake black crappie. photo by Bill Adelman
Article and photos by Bill Adelman
10/27/15 -- The above headline is catchy and it’s actually the case when fishing Steiner Lake in Redding. As the years passed it became more difficult to find solitude and successful angling opportunities. About 20+ years ago... Full Story
Recreational Spiny Lobster season opens
Spiny lobster, photo courtesy of CDFW
10/02/15 -- Thousands of lobster fishermen are eagerly awaiting the start of the sport season for California’s spiny lobster, which opens Saturday, Oct. 3 and continues through March 16, 2016.There is currently a strong El Niño event occurring... Full Story
Curing eggs for salmon fishing
A fresh pair of salmon skeins, photo by Jeff Goodwin
Article and photos by Jeff Goodwin
09/27/15 -- Salmon fishing on the Sacramento River is going strong and anglers are catching salmon just about everywhere in the Sacramento River system. We really got off to a late start this year, but the tough fishing... Full Story
Let’s check out the Upper Sac
Lake Siskiyou with Mt. Shasta standing sentinel. photo by Phil Akers
Article and photos by Phil "Flip" Akers
09/06/15 -- The Upper Sacramento River – The Upper Sac – begins at Lake Siskiyou’s Box Canyon Dam and continues ~37 miles downstream to Lake Shasta. It is a classic freestone river born from the Mt. Shasta and Mt. Eddy... Full Story
Finding Fish from Discarded DNA
Bluegill, photo by FISHBIO
By Erin Loury
06/22/15 -- To round out our series on environmental DNA (eDNA), in which we've described the basic concepts of this technique* in aquatic research, as well as its challenges and limitations**, here we highlight... Full Story
How to make Tuscan Tuna Salad with Fennel By Frank Galusha
05/04/15 -- OK, you went ocean fishing. If your fish is fresh or if you have processed, vacuum packed and frozen your catch properly, there are many ways to enhance your meals. Almost everything taken from the ocean is not... Full Story
Agencies halt commercial sardine fishing
Commercial fishing boats dragging their fishing nets, CADFW
04/30/15 -- All large-volume commercial sardine fishing in state and federal waters off California has been prohibited as of Tuesday, April 28, 2015. The closing will remain in effect until at least July 2016. “This may be an end of... Full Story
F&GC adopts in-river sport fishing regs 04/23/15 -- The California Fish and Game Commission adopted changes to the Central Valley and Klamath River basin salmon sport fishing regulations for the 2015 season on Friday, April 17. The changes include fall-run...Full Story
Fishing the Klamath below JC Boyle Dam
 Brian Buckingham with one of the larger fish from this section. This trout, estimated at 2 lbs., was caught near the BLM campground on the west shore six miles down the JC Boyle Dam on the Klamath River in Southern Oregon. Photo by author
By Trouteagle
03/02/15 -- Year round trout action can be found on the Klamath River within the 20 or so miles of free flow within Oregon and California. While fishing below the flumes at the JC Boyle powerhouse, it can be difficult to know just when...Full Story
The Mystery of the Middle Fork, Part IV
Jim Broshears, author badge,
By Jim Broshears
11/10/14 -- This trip was to be the final chapter in the saga that began three years ago but is actually over 20 years in the making. As Bruce, Tuck and I journeyed back to the Middle Fork of the Feather River we made...Full Story
Climbing Terms for the Fisherman
Trailhead Tales by Jim Broshears
10/14/14 -- For those of us who prefer to fish the rugged and remote streams and rivers for the elusive wild trout, rock climbing is a skill that is required to reach the special places where catching the big one is a “sure thing.” The skills...Full Story
German brown trout afternoon in Modoc
german brown trout in Modoc creek.
By Lea Huetteman
09/04/14 -- Catching a German Brown Trout from the creeks in Modoc County is a fine way to spend an afternoon. There are many creeks in this part of California that drain the Warner Mountains. Stream trout fishing in this region opens...Full Story
Throw the kitchen sink at them
Indian Paintbrush is a favorite wildflower that carpets wilderness landscapes. Phil Flip Akers,
Article and photos by Phil Akers
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Woodley Island Marina, Humboldt Bay, Eureka, California
03/06/04 -- Humboldt Bay, a busy commercial harbor and home port to many charter and private offshore fishing boats, is also popular with shore-based anglers and small boaters seeking bottomfish, sharks, crabs and clams...Full Story
Pulled into the pipes: Green Sturgeon
green sturgeon
By Erin Loury, FISHBIO
03/04/14 -- [Posted with permission of FISHBIO] Living in the Sacramento River can be a risky business for juvenile green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris). The young fish must swim through a gauntlet of water... Full Story
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California Golden Trout, California Heritage Trout Challenge, Not Just Any Fish, Phil
By Phil "Flip" Akers
02/14/13 -- Trout have inhabited California waters from the Sierra Nevada and Warner Mountains to the Pacific Ocean since prehistoric times. However, most of the trout caught by anglers are either hatchery raised fish...Full Story
Fishing with Phideaux
By Phil “Flip” Akers
01/26/14 -- Meet Phideaux, a 110-pound neurotic chocolate Lab. His name is pronounced “Fido” but it is spelled “Phideaux” because he is a Cajun dog. Anyway, last summer Phideaux took his human (that’s me) on a trout hunt up into...Full Story
A primer on fishing Lake Shasta By Gary Heffley
01/01/12 -- Shasta Lake draws more visitors to Shasta County than any other single attraction. While it is often a challenge to fish, it is more likely to produce stringers of fat trout or spotted bass. Trout to four and five pounds are caught here routinely...Full Story
Lake Oroville; 'tis the season By Chuck Giles
01/11/12 – Lake Oroville is probably one of the best lakes for sheer numbers of Spotted Bass in Northern California. This is not just on a seasonal basis, but year round. To start, I have a list of baits that produce decent results... Full Story


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